Genealogies of Mayflower passengers helps find descendants

Marilyn Monroe   

The actress and sex symbol who was born Norma Jean Baker, Marilyn Monroe is a descendant of John Alden.

Alden was a crew member who sailed aboard the Mayflower all the way to Plymouth Colony.

He was initially hired as the ship’s cooper, whose job it was to maintain barrels.

It’s unlikely that those who came over on the Mayflower were aware that they were responsible for one day spawning Monroe, one of the most iconic stars of Hollywood’s Golden Age of cinema.

Monroe died of a drug overdose in 1962. She was just 36 years old.  

Humphrey Bogart

Hollywood is well represented on the list of descendants.

Bogart was another acting legend who is best known for his work on classic 1940s hits like Casablanca, The Big Sleep, and The Maltese Falcon.

His acting career spanned three decades and included more than 75 feature films.

During a film career of almost 30 years, Bogart appeared in more than 75 feature films.

He was nominated for three Academy Awards for best actor. He eventually won the award for his starring role in The African Queen.

In 1999, the American Film Institute named Bogart the greatest male star of Classic American cinema.

Bogart’s ancestor on the Mayflower is John Howland, a passenger and indentured servant who would eventually become personal secretary of Governor John Carver.

George W. Bush 

Another famous descendant of Howland’s would one day become the 43rd president of the United States.

The Bush dynasty counts not just Howland but two other Mayflower passengers as ancestors – Francis Cooke and Henry Samson.

Samson comes from W.’s mother’s side, while Howland and Cooke are the forebears of George H.W. Bush, the 41st president.

Another U.S. president, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, is a distant relative of Cooke. 

Bush is one of America’s most controversial presidents – having presided over the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan following the 2001 terrorist attacks on the Twin Towers and the Pentagon.

By the time he left office, the country was mired in a financial crisis triggered by the collapse of the housing market.

Clint Eastwood 

The man who became famous for his portrayal of Dirty Harry is a descendant of a passenger on the Mayflower.

Eastwood, who was known as the ultimate ‘man’s man’ for his tough-guy characters in Westerns, can count as his ancestor William Bradford.

Bradford came over on the Mayflower to escape religious persecution at the hands of King James I.

He would eventually become governor of Plymouth Colony.

Eastwood has acted in, directed, and produced dozens of films throughout his storied career.

He is one of the few big-name actors who have successfully transitioned to directing and producing roles behind the camera.

 Sarah Palin

The former governor of Alaska who was tapped as the vice presidential nominee for the Republican Party in 2008, Sarah Palin also shares bloodlines with some of this country’s earliest settlers.

Like the Bush family, Palin is also descended from Mayflower passengers Howland and Samson.

Since she resigned as governor of Alaska in 2009, Palin has been an active campaigner on behalf of the Tea Party.

She is also the author of a bestselling book, Going Rogue, which has sold more than 2 million copies.  

Hugh Hefner 

Bradford is also an ancestor of ‘Hef,’ the man who founded Playboy.

Hefner, who helped usher in the 1960s sexual revolution with his groundbreaking men’s magazine and built a business empire around his libertine lifestyle, died this past September at the age of 91.

Hefner was once called the ‘prophet of pop hedonism’ by Time magazine.

He was sometimes characterized as an oversexed Peter Pan as he kept a harem of young blondes that numbered as many as seven at his legendary Playboy Mansion. 

‘I’m never going to grow up,’ Hefner said in a CNN interview when he was 82.

‘Staying young is what it is all about for me. Holding on to the boy and long ago I decided that age really didn’t matter and as long as the ladies … feel the same way, that’s fine with me.’ 

Alec Baldwin 

John Howland spawned a number of thespians, including the Baldwin brothers.

Before he was on Saturday Night Live impersonating President Donald Trump, Alec Baldwin was the star of a number of hit films.

Some of the more notable movies that he appeared in include Beetlejuice, The Hunt for Red October, Glengarry Glen Ross, and The Departed.

Baldwin has also successfully tried his hand at comedy, including a starring role on the hit sitcom 30 Rock.

Richard Gere 

The man who rocketed to fame with hit films like Pretty Woman and An Officer and a Gentleman is descendant of six passengers on the Mayflower.

Gere’s family tree includes Samuel Fuller, Francis Eaton, Francis Cooke, George Soule, Degory Priest, and Richard Warren. 

At the start of his acting career, Gere was known as a heartthrob in ladies’ man.

But in recent years he has reinvented himself as an activist for social and political causes, including freedom for Tibet.

In a recent inteview, Gere said his activism on behalf of Tibetan independence has cost him movie roles, as big studios have tried to avoid angering China.

Sources:, The Daily Beast, Wikipedia, Reuters